Tag Archives: liberal democrats

Politics is not the answer

I’ve been asked a few times recently why I haven’t blogged on here lately. Truth is, I’ve been struggling to find the motivation, and tonight it hit me exactly why that is.

I went to see Andrew Simms’ talk at the Pavilion Theatre, part of the Brighton Festival. Andrew has recently written a book called “Cancel the Apocalypse”, which I have yet to catch sight of. I thought I’d go along and hear what Andrew had to say, the Festival brochure tempting me in with the following:

From bad banks to global warming, the world sometimes looks as if it is falling apart. But what if the only things holding us back are a lack of imagination and a surplus of old orthodoxies?

Andrew started his talk by telling us that Caroline Lucas is the godmother to his daughter, and later mentioned “his friends at the Guardian (newspaper)”. He then presented us with some detail about the levels of carbon dioxide in the air and the timescale needed to adjust them to a safe level.

Comparing economics to fantasy football, he then presented his fantasy economy, listing all the aspects that he would like to see in his personal utopian economical system. The list of ten or twelve points included a generous president who lived like the rest of us, a true democracy representing civilians, a banking system with fair rewards and punishments and a renewable/sustainable green economy.

Andrew then proceeded to tell us how this IS all possible, citing real examples from other countries, from the Uruguayan President to the green economy of Nicuragua.

Now I admire his enthusiasm, and there was nothing to criticise within Andrew’s performance or presentation. However, it got me thinking…

Andrew presented these suggestions as radical and suggested that the only thing that stops these sort of changes coming about in this country is a lack of awareness – in part due to the corporate-controlled media. He was given a rousing round of applause when he had finished.

But now it was question time.

I couldn’t help myself and I had to ask: “Andrew, thank you for your presentation. I can see that you’ve clearly done a lot of research, and I wondered why you stopped short of advocating a resource based economy?”

Andrew asked me to briefly explain what a resource based economy is. I very briefly explained the overarching concept of The Venus Project, and Andrew responded that he didn’t want to offer something that didn’t allow people choice. I then explained (rather weekly, as my voice had gone) that the Venus Project is absolutely not about that.

The next person then asked a question about the Labour party, and Andrew talked about how Labour are unwilling, or at best very slow, to take on board new or radical concepts.

Which, ironically, is my point. I stand by my view that, as good as Andrew’s suggestions are, they don’t go far enough.

A system based around politics and the monetary system will always be open to corruption. It will always lead to scarcity in parts of the world. It will always lead to unnecessary deaths in the name of profit. And mankind will never reach it’s potential (utopia is unobtainable, we can only ever be the best we can based on the knowledge we have at that given point) while we rank human life based on their “economic” output. The political system cannot be fixed. It IS the old orthodoxy, and needs to be replaced.

And THAT is why I now very rarely blog on politics.

EDIT: You can now watch the full talk online, including my question and my shiny head.

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Time to put an end to career politicians

Following Liam Byrne’s announcement today that Labour will make further cuts to the welfare budget if they are elected in 2015, I immediately cancelled my Labour Party membership. I don’t think I need to explain my reasons to regular readers, as it ultimately comes down to the fact that I will not support a party that will not support society’s most vulnerable.

Now this could of course be a piece of clever posturing by the Labour Party, and as much I hope it is, that would make it an outright lie. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that Byrne is pandering to public opinion for now, but the mutterings that I heard within the party suggest that this is not the case. But more importantly than that, this now implicates Miliband and Byrne in the scandal of the treatment of Britain’s most vulnerable.

Disabled people and disability activists all over the country have been waiting for the Labour Party to stand up for them. The ConDemNation’s treatment of the disabled is nothing short of disdainful, showing zero respect and making those already in poverty, or on the poverty line, take responsibility for repaying a debt created by a bunch of millionaires with gambling problems. The media campaign that has stigmatised and resulted in a 30% increase in hate crimes against disabled people.

Disability Living Allowance, the benefit available to any disabled person, working or not, is being replaced by PIP. The intention of this is save 25% from the budget, despite official figures only showing a 0.5% fraud rate. This benefit enables disabled people to work. Talk to any disabled person about how their DLA helps their everyday lives and I assure you, you will be shocked at the things that you and I take for granted. Removing this benefit will remove disabled people’s ability to work, it is that simple.

And then of course, if you are unlucky enough to be too unwell to work, you will be put through the Work Capability Assessment. Despite the fact that five doctors who’ve known you for ten years have long identified that you are unable to work, an ATOS doctor will be able to deem you fit for work within twenty minutes. And we haven’t even considered the employment market yet.

So, why am I going over old ground again? Well, it’s quite simple. Until now, the main beacon of hope has been that in the run up to the election, Ed Miliband and the Labour Party would make a stand in the name of humanity. But not only have they not done that, they have taken away potentially what was the last hope for disabled people. They are therefore now as responsible for the anxiety and trauma being suffered by disabled people as the ConDemNation themselves.

Miliband’s weak response to Sonia Poulton’s letters (supported by the signature of 6000 disabled people and campaigners), plus his inability to respond to my letter, gave me a sinking feeling that Labour would let us down on this issue.

I mentioned that this could be political posturing, and this is why we need to end career politicians. While we have a system whereby a politician’s sole purpose in his job is to get his party elected and stay in power, we will always have politicians who will pander to the masses, and therefore alienate vulnerable or minority groups. Do you think David Cameron would have won as many votes if he’d told us that he’s destroying our NHS? No, hence he kept it quiet. Liam Byrne clearly thinks that his statement on welfare cuts will impress the public who are so easily influenced by the right-wing media, whether or not he sees it through is a different matter entirely.

This is why I am keeping a close eye on Democracy 2015 – a campaign based around electing independent individuals who pledge to serve for one term only. This eliminates the need to lie to keep hold of a seat, and allows the elected MP to work for the people, not for the party. Donations to the party are also limited to £50 per person, so no interference from corporations either.

This is still a long way from ideal, but it’s a small step in the right direction, and eliminates the need to have to vote for the least-worst self-serving party every five years.

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British decency – another call to arms, six months on #atos #wrb #disability

I’ll be honest, this is a re-hash of my post from February, but I think it is just as, if not more important now.

Following my post in February highlighting the disgraceful behaviour of our MPs on welfare reform, today I am once again asking all British citizens with a shred of decency in their body to take action to help protect the most vulnerable in society.

I know that as people going about our every day lives it’s very easy to just gloss over items of news that don’t directly affect you. I know that in the current climate the media very rarely portrays the real-life implications of government decisions, preferring instead to promote the government’s own agenda. And I know that in reality, we don’t have time to get involved in every single issue that affects us or those around is. But if today’s treatment of disabled people during the protests outside of DWP did not convince you that our government is callous, uncaring and driven purely by financial motives, I ask you to read the following, before taking action.

If you can read those blogs and still believe that the government are doing the right thing by making disabled children and cancer sufferers pay for rich bankers’ mistakes and irresponsibility (with YOUR money, let us know forget) then please, go and carry on with your daily life. Just pray that you don’t ever get cancer, or have children that are born with disabilities. Remember also, that seven rulings were overturned, not just one or two. Think that the government won’t do the same to future rulings that might affect you more directly? Think again. And remember, 88 per cent of government cuts are still to come.

So, what can you do?

For those of you still here, there are several quick actions your can take to help the most vulnerable.

1. Talk about it. You can’t tell me that it doesn’t come up from time to time in the pub. If your friend mentions “benefit scroungers” (which, by the way, no one is denying DO exist – just not in the quantities the media and government would have you believe) – make sure you mention that disabled children and people with cancer are being made to suffer by the cuts introduced by this government. You don’t need to lecture anybody, just mention that there is another side to the story.

2. Educate yourself. Like the following pages on Facebook to hear about the other side of the cuts, the side you don’t read about in the news. Also known as the truth. There are many more of course, plus people and organisations on Twitter. Search #wrb and #atos to find the most vocal.

3. Write to local and national newspapers asking them to present a balanced case when presented facts and figures on disability benefits. You can visit Full Fact for a regular redressing of the balance if you are unsure about the facts and figures quoted. Full Fact is entirely independent and regularly addresses inaccuracies presented by all political parties, and all media outlets.

4. If you have time, write to your MP and tell them how disgusted you are using this quick and easy form.

5. Those blogs I listed above, check back to them occasionally and see how people are really affected by this government.

I know we all have lives to lead and we can’t revolt at every decision made by government, but remember – the people most affected by these cuts are often unable to stand up for themselves. The ones that do, such as Sue Marsh and BendyGirl, only have limited time and energy to do so because of their conditions. It’s up to the rest of us able-bodied individuals to tell this government that they have crossed a line.

To the people affected by these changes, they aren’t about money. They’re about independence, respect and common decency something I’m sure that every decent citizen in the developed world would not be willing to live without. They say you can judge a country by the way it treats its most vulnerable. Right now we’re treating ours with disdain, incompetence a serious lack of respect.

This blog is the tip of the iceberg – please feel free to leave further suggestions in comments below.

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